Subpar defense sinks Halos again on deflating night

July 30th, 2022

ANAHEIM -- It was yet another loss characterized by subpar defense from the Angels.

A scoreless affair through five innings turned in the Rangers' favor in the sixth after left fielder Jo Adell misplayed a double by Marcus Semien that turned into a Little League homer. Second baseman Luis Rengifo later made a two-out error in the ninth that keyed a late Texas rally that put the Angels away for good in a 7-2 loss on Friday night at Angel Stadium.

“It’s definitely one of those things where it hurts the momentum,” Adell said of his error in the sixth. “But we’ll be fine. We’ll get back after it and I’ll definitely get to work on that. I have to be better and make the plays. It’s that simple.”

Angels starter Patrick Sandoval cruised through five scoreless innings until he allowed the momentum-shifting hit down the left-field line to Semien with one out in the sixth. Adell, saddled with an error on the play, misplayed the ball twice in the corner, as it got past him before he then had trouble picking it up. Semien was waved all the way home and scored after catcher Kurt Suzuki couldn't handle Rengifo's throw home.

It was another misplay for Adell, who has shown some improvements on defense, but ultimately has continued to have trouble in the outfield this year.

“I took way too steep of an angle,” Adell said. “I thought it was gonna get a hop off [the wall] there like it did for [Brandon] Marsh the other night, and it just wrapped around on me. I gotta be better with those angles down the line. I'll work on it. It's nothing that can't be worked on, but I was definitely too steep."

Sandoval bounced back and got Leody Taveras to ground out to shortstop, but proceeded to walk Jonah Heim on six pitches. It proved costly, as Adolis García followed with an RBI double down the left-field line. Adell played this ball much better, but it wasn't enough to get Heim at home.

"They put the bat on some pitches and put the ball in play and made us make some plays,” Sandoval said. “But I felt good all game."

Nathaniel Lowe followed García with a single, and just like that, Sandoval's night was over after 5 2/3 innings on 92 pitches. Reliever Andrew Wantz came in and limited the damage by getting Elier Hernandez to fly out to center.

It spoiled an otherwise strong outing for Sandoval, who allowed two runs on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts. He has a 3.61 ERA in 17 starts this season, though he's hit a rough patch of late, falling to 0-5 with a 6.20 ERA over his past five outings.

"Sandy pitched great,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. “He picked us up. He threw a lot of strikes and didn't really fall into any ruts."

Adell was again challenged defensively in the seventh, when Josh H. Smith hit a shallow pop fly to left field. Adell charged in and couldn’t make a sliding catch, which allowed Smith to reach on a double. Wantz, though, helped himself as he got Ezequiel Duran to hit a comebacker and threw out Smith as he tried to advance to third.

“That one, I did the best I could, but it was in no-man’s land,” Adell said. “[Phil] Gosselin was playing in, so it wasn’t really his ball either. I ran in as fast as I could, but it just dropped. There was no real way to cover that with the way we were set up.”

Sloppiness hurt the Angels again in the ninth, when Rengifo couldn’t handle a slow roller from Semien with two outs that allowed Kole Calhoun to score. Two pitches later, Elvis Peguero uncorked a wild pitch to allow another run. Two more came around to score on a bloop single from Taveras and a ground-rule double from Heim.

"Luis has been great," Nevin said. "He's been great for us both on both sides of the ball and he didn't make the play. It’s a tough play coming in. I'm not worried about what Luis does on the infield. He's been great for us. Elvis just got scattered. And with the stuff he throws, it's not Zuk's fault. I know it looks bad, but it's not Zuk's fault."